Friday, June 20, 2008

Muzax 10 – Music from the Solstice game

The tenth episode of Muzax is part of the mini-series “Famous Videogame Music”. The music you will hear is from the Solstice game on the NES.

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Content of broadcast:
Welcome to Muzax, the video games music broadcast.

Today, let’s discover the world of the “Solstice” video game. This game was released by “Software Creations” in 1989 on the NES. We are listening to the music of the title screen, that is to say, the music you hear just before the game begins.

The NES was an 8-bit console and it wasn’t powerful enough to run games in 3D. The isometric 3D, also named isometric projection or pseudo 3D, simulates a 3D environment with only 2D graphics. Little by little, this technique disappeared. Real 3D arrived with the new generation of 16-bit devices such as the Super Nintendo and the Sega Megadrive consoles or as the Atari ST and the Commodore Amiga microcomputers.

The number of bits is correlated with the device architecture type and more precisely with the width of the bus and the size of the processor register. Actually, the bus is an internal connection that carries data from one computer component to another. The register is an internal memory of the processor which allows data to be stored and which speeds up data processing.

We are now listening to the music played when presenting the synopsis. We are now at the heart of the game. Solstice contains several video game genres. Indeed, this game is based not only on exploring rooms but also on solving enigmas. It is both an adventure and a puzzle game.

The scenario is very simple. The frightening Morbius has just kidnapped the Princess Eleanor and intends to sacrifice her on solstice day. So he would become all-powerful and it would provoke the return of darkness. Only the Demnos sceptre can stop him. The player controls Shadax the magician and has to find out the six pieces of the sceptre spread in Morbius’ castle. After that, the player will be able to kill this evil character to set the princess free and then to save the world from darkness.

Unlike most games of that era, in Solstice, there is no boss to beat and only one level to finish: the castle. The player has no weapons and can only use a few magic potions. Neither can he backup his games so he will need patience and hard-thinking. The game is difficult and before completing his quest, the player will probably hear the game-over music several times. After spending long hours exploring the castle which is made up of more than 200 rooms, the player will finally be able to set the beautiful princess free and crush Morbius the evil.

The music and graphics of Solstice are highly successful. Solstice is very difficult and can be frustrating for some people but deeply captivating for others. The six pieces of music from this game were written by Timothy Follin. They reflect the middle-age ambiance and the glum and wicked atmosphere of Morbius’ castle perfectly .

This broadcast dedicated to Solstice is now over. Thanks for listening and tune in soon for a new episode of Muzax!

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